Leeward Islands all-rounder cleared of marijuana possession charges in Trinidad

PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad – This week, attorney Rajiv Persad, representing Leeward Islands all-rounder Tonito Willett, informed the court in Trinidad that the director of public prosecutions would be discontinuing proceedings against Willett on charges of marijuana possession.

The notice of discontinuance was signed and filed with the court on Wednesday.

Both Willett and the late former West Indies batsman, Runako Morton, were arrested and charged with the offence in March 2011, and the West Indies Players Association (WIPA) immediately came to their assistance by posting bail and appointing an attorney to represent both players.

Willett, who has always proclaimed his innocence and had attended several hearings during the intervening period, was delighted at the final outcome. He had been frustrated in his attempts to have the matter heard so that his name could be cleared by the frequent absence of the arresting officer at the hearings.

“The dropping of these charges against me comes as a tremendous relief,” said the Nevisian all-rounder. “I would like to sincerely thank everyone at WIPA who has stood by me throughout. From Dinanath (Ramnarine) who was the president and CEO at the time of the incident, right on down to Wavell (Hinds) and Michael (Hall) who have followed up and seen it through to completion. I will be putting this behind me and trying to get on with my first-class career.”

Commenting on the issue, WIPA president and CEO Wavell Hinds, while pleased, also expressed some concerns about the manner in which Willett had been treated by the Leeward Islands Cricket Association (LICA).

“Naturally, we are happy at this outcome, and also that our support for Tonito has helped to get him through a difficult time. We are also very grateful to Mr Persad for his diligent efforts on Tonito’s behalf. We must, however, express our concern at LICA’s recent decision to declare Tonito ineligible for selection to their Nagico Super50 team, because of today’s hearing. We hope to have constructive dialogue with them on the matter soon,” said Hinds.

Both the West Indies Cricket Board and LICA have been notified of the result of this week’s hearing.

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